Alligators escape from Hernando farm; owner cited
Monday, June 20, 2011
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
Seventeen alligators escaped from an alligator farm in Hernando,
Citrus County, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) investigators.
FWC Investigator Jim Smith received a call from the local
nuisance-alligator trapper, saying his agent had captured eight 4-
to 6-foot alligators over four days in a housing development with
no nearby natural water sources.
Another alligator was found dead. It had been struck by a
Smith knew of a licensed facility in the area that had
alligators in a fenced-in area. The farmer, Albert J. Spiegel, had
recently acquired an alligator farm license.
Smith met with the alligator farmer and conducted an inventory
inspection of the 2.5-acre farm. The alligator farmer was surprised
to learn that of his 18 alligators, only one remained in the
The alligators made the mass escape through a hole they had dug
under the fence, according to Smith.
He cited Spiegel for maintaining wildlife in an
unsafe/unsanitary condition, a second-degree misdemeanor,
punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 60 days in
According to FWC records, Spiegel was approved for an alligator
farm license in February. He purchased 20 animals that same month.
Two died at the farm.
Eight of the farm's gators remain unaccounted for, said
"But this is Florida and we have gators everywhere, so there's
no cause for alarm," Smith said.
If people do see an alligator in a place where it's not supposed
to be, they should call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at
Spiegel voluntarily surrendered his alligator farm license to
FWC investigators. The remaining animal will be transferred to a
During the last inspection in February, Spiegel met all the